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Round-up of UK employment law developments in September 2014

1. Key employment law changes in force 1 October 2014 | Employment tribunals now have the power to order an employer who has breached equal pay law to carry out an equal pay audit and publish the audit on its external website for three years. The new power will apply to claims brought on or after 1 October.  Employers will need to factor this into decisions on settlement of claims and on whether to conduct a voluntary audit.  Further detail is available here.
Employees and agency workers now have a right to take unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman with whom they have a “qualifying relationship” to up to two antenatal appointments (of up to 6.5 hours each).  BIS has published a guide to the new right, available here.
Employees will no longer need the statutory qualifying period to bring an unfair dismissal claim where the dismissal is connected with the employee’s membership of the Reserve Forces. Provision has also been made for payments to small and medium-sized employers of reservists who are called out for service.
National minimum wage rates have increased to £6.50 per hour for workers aged 21 and over, £5.13 for workers aged 18-20, £3.79 for workers aged 16 and 17 and £2.73 for apprentices. The accommodation offset rises to £5.08 a day.
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